These days it seems like I am learning about exciting projects or programs happening or being planned in the city of Akron with regularity.
New partnerships, new investments in our infrastructure, new construction and new programs are all part of the conversation. It is energizing to see so much positive change taking place to make our community a better place to work, raise a family and start a business.
And there is extraordinary support from new leadership, including Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, and organizations such as the Downtown Akron Partnership and area foundations that are bringing new energy and vision for the future.
Moving in the right direction
Building a vibrant community is key to attracting and retaining talent in Akron. Today’s young people are choosing urban settings where they can live, work and play in a walkable city. In fact, many are choosing their place to live before they choose their job and career.
Akron is moving in the right direction as we see important public/private partnerships that are highly focused on building an environment to attract the job creators and create spaces for urban living and shopping, which greatly help drive economic vitality for a city.
Bringing vitality to the city
I believe that lots of good things happen when people come together in support of a common goal. And for those who are interested, there are already many opportunities to be a part of a growing and changing Akron.
One such opportunity is the Akron Accelerator’s Bits and Atoms Innovation Center (BAIC), a city-led, collaborative entrepreneurial development center that will be a destination for entrepreneurs and creative individuals who want to build something and create a business around it.
This initiative, funded through federal and state grants as well as private support, is a partnership with the city of Akron, The University of Akron, and Stark State College along with over a dozen collaborative organizations.
The 50,000-square-foot facility is slated to open in 2018 and will feature leading-edge makerspace, AkronMakes, which will include the latest additive manufacturing tools and related software modules for use by individual members.
A co-working space, AkronWorks, modeled after nationally successful collaborative programs, will be another featured element. Several other private and public entities all with a mission to empower individuals to create new opportunities will be a part of the BAIC. All of these programs under one roof will position the BAIC in our nation’s elite class.
In my role as the CEO of the Accelerator here in Akron, I am greatly encouraged to see these partnerships emerge and grow. I am also excited to lead the opportunity to bring additional vitality to our city through the new BAIC, which will help entrepreneurs succeed in creating jobs and opportunity.
It is an exciting time for Akron. I encourage you to seek out opportunities and contribute to the effort overall. When we all work together, our city thrives and everyone can benefit. ●
Anthony Margida is CEO at Akron Global Business Accelerator